Spring is well underway here at Cabin Bluff. For our culinary department that means it's time to put away the rustic squashes, hearty potatoes, and other earthy root vegetables that are meant to keep us tucked in warm at night. But the good news is there are a whole new group of bright and crisp flavors are here to wake us out of our winter somber.
If left up to the chefs of the world the calendar year would start in May instead of January. May is the month when the best fruits and vegetables grow from sprout into being. These are the ingredients that will make any passionate cook's dream move from the mind to the plate - fava beans, asparagus, mushrooms, Vidalia onions, peas, peaches, watermelon, berries (which we harvest a stone’s throw away from our front gate), plus many more.
One of my personal favorites on this list is just as traditional to the south as country music and SEC football: the watermelon. For many of us, watermelon brings back memories of childhood – gathered in the backyard with family, a little salt sprinkled on wedges of watermelon almost too big to hold, juice running down our chins, wiped away by sticky hands. We think that might still be the best way to eat a watermelon, even as an adult!
I would like to share with you a new way to enjoy this sweet treat well before dessert comes to the table. A way for you to have your cake and eat it too. Literally. Here at Cabin Bluff we added an unusual twist to a tomato classic for our spring menus, and we want you to be able to take it home from our kitchen to yours.
2 cups seedless watermelon peeled and chopped
2 vine-ripened tomatoes
1 small jalapeño, seeds removed
1 english cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 vidalia onion
2 medium cloves garlic
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 cup tomato juice
½ cup EVOO
Salt and Fresh Cracked Pepper to taste
Grenadine (optional – if the watermelon isn’t up to standards this will help your soup come alive)
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
Black Benne Seeds and Sliced Chive or Pea Shoots for Garnish
Roughly chop all vegetables and place into a large bowl. Drizzle with EVOO and add tomato juice. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Blend all ingredients in batches using a high speed blender until smooth. Pour each batch through a fine strainer (optional) and discard the pulp. Once finished, season to your liking with vinegar, lime juice, and salt and pepper. Your best tool in the kitchen is your own tongue. Pour into 6 serving vessels and garnish with benne seeds and chives. The benne seeds will mimic the seeds of the watermelon and the chives mimic the color of the rine for a presentation that is sure to impress your family and friends.
Eat well my friends,
Chef Eric Groover
Want to try the watermelon gazpacho for yourself? We're now booking summer weekends for families and friends. Call Mitzi at 912.729.5960 to secure your summer adventure!